A Survey of Open Space
directed by Peat Duggins
starring Zach Hall, Michaela Duggins, and Chris Comfort
Go to Brownsville Texas and get a pair of bicycles. Head north, aiming at Alaska. Film the high points; edit out the endless slog through that really flat part of Texas. You’re in the heartland of America – friendly, accommodating and just on the edge of violence against anything they don’t understand, like a guy with ironic facial hair in bicycle tights. But people are generally friendly, they offer help and advice and give these adventurers a place to crash so long as they keep moving along. It’s an epic road trip, they film and pedaling their way north from Mexico to the Arctic Circle. Avoiding any urbanization, they take the back roads and make a film and eventually hit their real goal – the continental divide. Maybe they’re looking to raise awareness, maybe they are so far beyond that ice bucket thing they don’t care, but the scenery is spectacular and the pedaling endless. They cheat a bit and take a ferry from Seattle to Anchorage, thus avoiding the foreboding g Alcan highway and Canadian customs officials. But in the end, they achieve their goal, and they do it all in one summer.
There are bragging rights here, and the bicyclists are professionals – they have a bag for everything, and everything in its appointed place. We don’t even see flats, I assume they are taken care of so efficiently that there is no need to make a scene out of them. I admire their stamina and persistence, and I ‘m glad I didn’t have to ride along with them. This is a great road film, and the fact it runs at 90 degrees to the classic Route 66 run adds to its charm. If you’re looking to take a long long bike ride, these guys can offer some sage advice. And if you’re making a documentary, there’s always a chase vehicle hanging out within calling range.